A public vote on funding parks and transit?

Below is an e-mail from Jim Goulee of The Park People. While you may instinctively resist a sales tax increase, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that the righties will come out in force against the vote, it could make a major difference in essential parts of our community with a relatively small personal cost.

Also, I want to make sure this is actually going to happen, but I’m taking it as a reliable account given that it’s coming from Mr. Goulee. I’ll call some county board folks on Monday to confirm this.

On Tuesday June 17th the Milwaukee County Parks Energy and Environment Committee will hear the recommendation of the Parks Advisory Commission related to their charge to designate a secure, long term solution to fund the Milwaukee County Parks Department. The Advisory Commission will recommend a half percent sales tax increase dedicated to funding our parks. After the commission gives their recommendation, Supervisor Broderick will present a resolution for a half percent sale tax for parks.

Yes, this flies in the face of the recent action taken by the Transportation and Public Works Committee to seek an advisory referendum for a half percent sales tax increase dedicated to transportation.

Supervisor Broderick has assured me that a super majority (more than 2/3 of the board) will back a half percent for parks and transportation. A half percent would generate approximately $65,000,000. This is more than enough to fund both Parks and Transportation at their current levels ($30,000,000 for parks and cultural programs, and $22,000,000 for transportation) with the remainder available for improvements to both budgets. This would effectively remove both departments from property tax support, which would not only translate into a property tax reduction, but also a cessation of further cuts to these essential entities.

At this time it appears that if the full County Board gets this through over Walker’s promised veto, there would be either an advisory or binding referendum (yet to be determined) on the November ballot.

The PEEC meets at 9am on the 17th. I don’t know where this is on the agenda at this time.

Please! If you care about the future of our parks, show your support by not only showing up at the Parks Committee meeting, but also by speaking in favor of this resolution.

Due to the fact that the County Board is newly elected and has nearly four years to recover from a show of support for a new tax, they are apt to pass this once and for all. And I do mean FOR ALL.

Jim Goulee

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.